Summer is sneaking up on us here at MTB Girls Ride – We can’t wait for some Summer Bike action! Whether that is Gondola Laps at the infamous Nevis Range, home to the World Cup Since 2002 or long mountain days in the Alps we know that it is going epic! We will be documenting out rides and trip throughout the Summer giving you some key tip of where to visit along the way, how to get there and what the trails are like! We will also be sharing with you all the must have kits for all our rides & trip.
We also want to hear from you this Summer! Share your stories with us on Social Media using #MTBGIRLSRIDE or send your images over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll try and share as many stories and images as possible! Our first post will be dropping tomorrow Home of the World Cup – find it on our homepage http://www.mtbgirlsride.co.uk.
The UCI have changed the rules once again and this time they have reduced the number of women that can make it through to the world cup finals. Previously 20 women were able to proceed through to the finals from qualifying this has now been reduced to 15. The junior field has also been culled with the number of Jr riders making it through to the main event being cut from 30 – 20.
Could this be a deterrent? Resulting in less women and junior riders attending world cups if they have less chance of getting through to the finals? Therefore preventing potential young & new talent entering the sport.
The UCI have stated that they have introduced these changes in order to “protect the integrity of the course and therefor improve the quality of competition”. However I can’t help but think this change won’t be anything but negative!
Whats your views?
The Solstice is the new womens specific backpack from CamelBak new MTB low rider range. It’s designed to move your load down towards your waist. This change gives you a lower centre of gravity and a wider range of movements so essentially it should be easier to manoeuvre when you are descending!
I used to often take large backpacks out on rides but often find that because I had a bigger space I would just fill it with unnecessary stuff. So when I first saw the Solstice on first impressions I thought it looked far too small and was sceptical about being able to fit all the essentials into the backpack, but the bag has ample storage and a place for everything:
- Fleece-lined Sunglass/ media pocket
- Magnetic catch for tube
- Stretch overflow storage (also fits goggles perfectly)
- Helmet holder
- Armor Carry Straps
- Lumbar compression straps
- Blinker tab
- Waist belt pockets
- tool roll
The Backpack design means that the majority of the weight is focused on your waist rather than back, this aids stability during descents. The focus of the weight on your back is also design to reduce the strain on your back therefore preventing lower back pain from occurring.
I couldn’t believe how much comfier this backpack felt in comparison to other hydration packs I have used in the past. During descents it was extremely stable and at times almost unnoticeable. I often develop a sore lower back pain if I ride with a backpack on for long periods of time, but the smart design of the soltice definitely helped combat this. With all the benefits of this bag it is definitely my go to bag now for a trail rides and even on a hike. Retailing from as low as £60 this backpack is an absolute bargain.
This backpack was provided FOC from Zyro Distribution for product testing.
Safe, Secure & Stylish
Safety is key with the Bluegrass Brave helmet. The design and construction of this helmet has been carefully developed to ensure optimum protection for your head. The Brave helmet has the capability to withstand double the impact of most helmets this is because it is the first helmet on the market that uses D30 inserts. The D30 inserts are the result of highly innovative technology. They are made from a tactile polymer material which is composed of intelligent molecules. These are free flowing when at rest but stiffen on impact.
It is the smallest features of this helmet from the air vents on chin guard which prevent over heating on the warmest days to the easy use of goggles with the helmet. Giving maximum field of vision.
For me the comfort level of a helmet is crucial. Most of the time you have a helmet on for a significant amount of time and even after long days of chairlift and gondola runs this helmet still felt extremely comfortable. The padding in the helmet was perfectly position for optimum comfort. For this Bluegrass used an anti-allergenic fabric varying the thickness according to the position in the helmet. The interior pads are also removable and can be hand washed.
No hearing loss – Definitely my favourite feature of this helmet. Bluegrass recognise that an accident is more likely with loss of hearing. This often isn’t recognised by many brands. Bluegrass have taken steps in the development of this helmet to ensure minimum hearing loss.
Overall I loved this Helmet. I wore it consistently for over a month when I was over in the Alps this Summer and never once did I find the helmet uncomfortable, it is exceptionally light for all the features that are built into it. The helmet is also available in 4 vibrant colour combinations.
The helmet is available in 4 sizes, XS/S, M & L/XL.
Weight: 1015g (XS/S), 1035g (M), 1085g (L/XL
This helmet is available in 4 different colours
Helmet is available for £153 from Chain Reaction Cycles
Looking for a new trail Helmet then why not check out our review of the New MET Lupo helmet.
Bluegrass Brave Helmet was provided FOC from Bluegrass Eagle
I’ve spent the last month trying out the new trail helmet from MET. The Lupo helmet is new to the MET/Bluegrass trail range for 2016. The helmet is claimed to be the perfect balance between aggressive styling, ventilation and comfort. The helmet weighs in at only 270 Grams making it one of the lightest all-mountain helmets in the market. Making it the ideal choice for long days on the saddle.
It is clear that METs main design objective for this helmet was to provide maximum comfort & protection to the rider. The helmet has multiple features that are designed to keep comfort levels high! Even down to the anti pinch buckle on the chin strap.
With 20 vents in the helmet your not going to over heat with this helmet on. The large centred vents provide that much needed ventilation when you are working hard on the bike.
The Safe-T Advanced Fit System was easy to adjust and really made the helmet feel fitted and secure to my head. The contact points have a larger cradle surface which also significantly increases the comfort of the helmet.
The Gel 02 pads at the front of the helmet are designed to keep your head cooler on those long trail riders where you are pushing the limits. The gel pads also don’t absorb perspiration like the regular foam pads in most helmets. The only downside of the pads is that when the helmet is on a tight setting the pads press into your forehead and can become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for a significant period of time. The theme of light, breathable & strong also continued onto the Kevlar straps.
The helmet overall has a great secure, light feel and is extremely comfortable. It comes in 5 dynamic colours and in 2 sizes M & L.
The helmet fits extremely well, it provides increased protection without any increased weight. The only niggles I had with this helmet was that the Gel O2 pads at the front of the helmet could become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for long period of time.
SKINS WATERPROOF ISN’T IT?????
MTB Girls Ride just hosted our first girls group ride last weekend! Organising a group uplift day in Fort William was always going to be risky… as most people that are familiar with Fort William will know the weather is less than predictable!
After a good few weeks of decent weather I was optimistic that they weather was going to play ball! Sadly my optimism was short lived when I looked at the forecast on Friday afternoon! The word on the street was heavy showers and thunderstorms but the wind seemed okay so the ride would go on regardless of the rain…after all we live in Scotland and if we cancelled things when it rained we would never do anything.
I headed up to Nevis Range about 9am, half expecting to be the only person there. The rain was pelting down and on the whole it was just pretty grim! We had arranged to meet in the cafe and by 10am 17 girls had shown up! We headed out of the cafe ready to embrace whatever the weather had to throw at us.
We loaded the bikes on the Gondola and off we went. We’d got nearly three quarters of the way up the gondola and the words “well at least it’s not windy” had just escaped my lips when we looked out the gondola window and seen out bikes all fall to the side.The sudden panic stricken look across the girls faces was clear!
We all had a great sigh of relief as we pulled into the top Gondola station and the bikes well still hanging on. But the weather at the top of the Gondola was even more grim! I stepped outside the top station and nearly took a flight over Fort William. We decided to take shelter in the top gondola station cafe. After about 20 minutes we decided the worst of the weather had passed and to head out.
This was the first time that many of the group had ridden the red giant at Nevis Range! The track isn’t an easier red in fact it is very hard for a red but all the girls gave it a go and I would even go as far as saying they seemed to enjoy it…! At the bottom of the first run we divided up with some of the group opting to head into the woods and the rest opting for more gondola laps. Entering into round 2 of us V’s the weather.
This time at the top station the rain had stopped the sun was out and this was how the day continued. Sunshine, winds…but all round good times.
It was so great to see so many girls stoked about riding their bikes. The whole feel of the day was awesome and we can’t wait to hold the next one!
Keep an eye out for the next group ride dates coming soon!
Fort William was always going to be an emotional world cup after the tragic passing of Stevie Smith. Upon hearing the news of Stevie’s death the mountain bike community pulled together on a number of MTB forums to express their love and gratitude for 4 time World Cup Winner. One Pinkbike user requested that at the next round of the World Cup in Fort William a Memorial Run be held in Stevie’s honour! The request gained so much momentum online that the UCI have announced that a memorial run will be held in Stevie’s honour during the next round at Fort William. I can’t think of a more fitting way to honour one of the greatest mountain bikers in the world.
“The UCI has decided to take up your idea to pay tribute to Stevie Smith. Together with Red Bull and our event’s partners we’ve decided to plan a memorial run in Fort William, UK, early June. Stevie’s passing away has been a shock for the Mountain Bike community and beyond. This dedicated moment will provide a fitting honour to “The Chainsaw” and will also celebrate his contribution to the MTB discipline. Thank you again for providing the initial impetus for this memorial. More details will follow.” – UCI
“Some good news comes out of such a sad time: happy to see there will be a memorial run. Thanks for listening to the community, UCI, and glad I could be a part of that voice. #LongLiveChainsaw” – Dominic Wrapson AKA Hwulex
It isn’t uncommon to be patriotic to your home town. But it makes it a little easier when you live somewhere as awesome as I do. Fort William is known to most as the home of British Downhill, but this small highland town has so much more to offer than just a Downhill track. Sure the track is heaps of fun and brings in thousands of visitors every year but the riding is so much more diverse than just that one track. This was showcased at the 2nd round of the Scottish Enduro Series a few weeks back, the race had a perfect balance of bike park to natural riding.
The 2nd round of the SES was my very first Enduro race so I thought I’d ease myself in and enter the lite category. I came away from the weekend with two thing.. 2nd place and an enduro convert. I now see the appeal of this discipline. You don’t have the same waiting around that you do in Downhill, your constantly on your bike having fun and after all that’s why we all ride to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Despite this I still have a love for big bikes and chairlifts which I can’t see changing anytime soon.
My favourite time of the year in Fort William is normally around late April till the end of June. The weather is usually nice, the midges are still in hibernation and most of the visitors still think we are snowed in so the place isn’t overly busy.
As I sit writing this outside in 22 degree heat I think it is a fair statement to say that winter is behind us (despite last weeks snow). I must admit I surprisingly enjoyed winter this year, there wasn’t too much snow at ground/trail level so I got out on my bike heaps and there was still enough up top to get some good snowboarding nailed. I am however glad to see the back of winter now. It was fun while it lasted but now it’s Bike, BBQ & Beach time. Summer plans are nearly finalised, we’re heading to France, Italy & Switzerland in June and then over to Slovenia in August. We also have our first Girls group ride in just under 2 weeks in Fort William. It’s a great chance to ride with like minded girls (at a discounted rate). Check it out here.
Girls Group Ride in Fort William on the 21st of May
This past weekend was the first weekend of Gondola uplift in Fort William, which to me signifies the start of Summer, the sun even made an appearance on the Sunday too.
The weather over the last few days has been phenomenal in Fort William the sun has been shining so brightly that it woke me up at 5am this morning and I decided to head out on a pre work bike ride (I might be a sleep at my desk by lunch time). Long may Summer continue.
Until Next Time 🙂 x
Fort William DH tracks opens tomorrow for the Summer!
Specialized bicycles will be on hand all weekend with demos & ride outs! Even offering people the chance to try out the Öhlins equipped Demo 8 Carbon.
Saturday ride out will take place at 10am & 2pm. Sundays ride out with Specialized rider Hannah Barnes is at 10am.
2016 What’s Been Happening
It is hard to believe that we are into the month of May already. The 2016 season is already well underway but there is still heaps to look forward too. Here is a round up of what’s happened so far.
- Rachel Atherton continues to dominate the female world cup circuit.
- Round 3 of the EWS in Ireland is only 1 week away & Rd 3 Fort William is ONLY 5 weeks away! Get tickets for Fort William here!!
- Fort William’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup has been named No.1 on a list of the top 5 bike events for spectators in 2016 by major mountain bike sponsor, Red Bull
- Cecile Ravanel dominates in the first 2 rounds of the EWS.
- World Champ Loic Bruni take his first world cup win in Cairns
- MTB Girls Ride is to host its first Girls Group ride on May 21st @ Nevis Range, Fort William
- Fort William, World Cup Track & the Red Downhill uplifts open for Summer this weekend!